* The following notes were taken from the writings of Professor N. A. Neon:
The “Broken Window” theory argues that the length of time taken to repair a damaged or broken window is directly proportional to the decline of a home or neighbourhood. Simply put, the longer a broken window is allowed to remain broken, the more likely it is that it will never be changed and the home in question will be allowed to rot.
But for most of the arguments in favour of this theory, the owner of the property is not available due to reasons of abandonment, lack of funds to cover rent, or simply due to the property being left unchecked over a great period of time. What if said property were occupied over a set period of time? What changes could be observed in the theory and what possible results could be gleaned from such a situation.
I myself have been fortunate enough to find myself the victim of a damaged window, and have decided to record the day-to-day changes taking place over a set period of time:
Day 1: returned home from work to find the damaged window. Wife has ordered me to repair it, or the find someone “who knows how to use their hands” and “actually do something constructive” around here for once. I note her suggestion and ignore said instructions (written on living room sofa late that night).
Day 2: during wife’s absence, a blue jay has attempted to enter the home through the window. So far, the blue jay has only set up a nest near the window without gaining access to our space. I contemplated putting up a piece of cardboard to cover the hole, but realized that this would work against the theory, despite the fact that my wife left strict instruction on this matter. I continued to reside on the front couch while my wife wondered about leaving for a long vacation.
Day 4: weather has turned. Incredible amounts of rain and wind. Blue jay has again attempted to enter the home. No success, but I was very tempted to allow the animal to enter our home. No cage available and my wife has a clear dislike for the great outdoors (her words: “You are not going to allow some damn wild thing to reside in our home just because it is getting wet. You would have to allow all the animals out there to stay in our place”). I considered these words and came to certain conclusions.
Day 6: rainstorms have ended. There is some damage to our neighbourhood, including the tree now taken by the blue jay. I noted that there were two eggs in the nest as I awaited the arrival of the blue jay. Have purchased a bird cage and it is now in our basement. Wife has not been informed of recent changes.
Day 7: one week since the beginning of the broken window experiment. Wife has discovered the birdcage and the blue jay with her eggs. Some slight head trauma from a hurled coffee cup and I needed to spend more time focused on treatment of the blow at local pharmacy. Upon return home, wife was not available and her favourite bag and car now missing. Noted also that the broken window has lost some glass and the damage is more visible. Return to bedroom for a night of peaceful sleep.
Day 9: noise heard by window. Boys have discovered the broken window and are attempting to pitch stones and coins through it (resembles some sort of game or competition between them). They were not persuaded to stop by my appearance at the said window. More stones were thrown when I appeared. Only my appearance outside ended the competition. Did not recognize any of them as they rode off.
Day 10: fed blue jay and noticed the new addition to that family. Considered releasing them back into the wild (wife has demanded that I do so before she returns home; promise made to consider her offer did not appease her). More noise heard near window. Boys have returned and are now chanting “Fix it up, fix it up!” I have noticed that these boys appear in the late afternoon after the school has ended for the day (this seems to matter). Very tempted to contact local schools and find out who they are. Realize that this might conflict with theory and experiment.
Day 12: necessary to note here that the theory is not simply about a broken window itself. The theory states that crime can also be linked to the decline of an area and stem from a broken window. Home was invaded by an unknown thief. One laptop and some of my wife’s jewelry stolen (she was quite calm when informed about this). I must note that the cage and birds remained untouched and that the window was covered with a piece of cardboard (strange that this offends me the most about the robbery).
Day 13: wife has returned. She has noted the boys who appear at the window and made certain that they no longer appear at the window with their stones and coins. And she has released the blue jay and its hatchlings. The animals are not in the local trees and there is no indication that they are safe (cannot get any information from her on them). She has decided to call up a repairman to fix the window and finally end my experiment.
Day 14: after two weeks of the experiment, it has reached an interesting conclusion. Blue jay has returned and landed near the cardboard covering over the broken window. Two boys have appeared and attempted to throw rocks and coins again. This time, they did target the bird. Blue jay attacked them, chasing them out of the back of our home. Wife heard the screams and went outside to see what was happening. Police picked them all up as she slapped one of the boys quite violently and refused to obey their orders. Must bail her out later today and contact the repair man. The weekend will be quite long for her.